Update: KQED pulls SodaStream gift
KQED’s publicist Evren Odcikin sent this statement to The Electronic Intifada on Friday afternoon:
After careful consideration, KQED is pulling SodaStream from its pledge thank you gift offer. The decision to provide SodaStream to our members was based on the product’s positive impact on the environment, an issue near and dear to the hearts of our members and part of KQED’s commitment to sustainability. However, the controversy surrounding SodaStream would undermine the spirit of our impartiality and unbiased mission, therefore the product will no longer be offered as a thank you gift to our members.
The broadcaster also confirmed its decision in a tweet:
KQED, the northern California public broadcaster affiliated with NPR and PBS, has told The Electronic Intifada it may reconsider its policy of giving away SodaStream drink carbonation machines in exchange for donations.
SodaStream has been at the center of a growing controversy, as The New York Times’ blog The Lede reported yesterday, because its factory is in an illegal Israeli colony in the occupied West Bank.
But the station had apparently been unaware until today.
“We just found out about it through social media. We’re in contact with the company to investigate and we’ll be taking action one way or the other,” KQED’s publicist Evren Odcikin told The Electronic Intifada by telephone.
Odcikin did not give a time frame for a decision.
Twitter user Erica Razook reported hearing the offer on air and tweeted at KQED. As the screenshot above shows, KQED is giving the machines to anyone who pledges a donation of $15/month.
The charity Oxfam is also at the center of a growing storm because its “Global Ambassador,” Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson, has just signed a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with SodaStream.
Oxfam is a strong opponent of Israeli settlements, stating that businesses including SodaStream “that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.”